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Monday, July 29, 2013

A Southern Belle's Rant... to Anonymous!

I've been agonizing over an email that I received this morning... from "Anonymous" no less!!! I'm compiling several blog posts that I have written on Southern Cooking and Soul Food. They all contain information on the history of Southern Cooking and Foods. The links are at the bottom of this post. That being said...

I am a Southern Belle with very strong ties to my Southern Roots. My Family History and Southern Heritage are a great source of pride for me. Southern Style Cuisine gets a bad rep from time to time... with Fat, Butter and Sugar being criticized at every turn. That's fine with me. You eat what you want, or don't eat what you don't want. Like it or don't like it. Love it or hate it... it's your call.

So, who peed in my corn flakes this morning??? "Anonymous", that's who. Someone not brave enough to leave their name... on my blog post about my baby brother's famous pizza... and I quote!!!

"Pizza is not southern but it shares a few major characteristics of typical southern fare: yummy but heart attack inducing. I feel fat after just looking at the pics."

#1... Knocking my baby brother's pizza is a BIG no no! If my Mama were still alive, she would find you Anonymous! BTW... I have the same knee-jerk reaction, since I took care of him after she died.

#2... If I told my baby brother that someone left a note on his lit'l Sis' blog insinuating that our food isn't southern, he'd be in his pick-up blaring Hank Jr's "Country Boy Can Survive!" demanding, "Take it back!"
(at the least... that's what he'd do.)

#3... My daughter-in-law, that had her wedding portraits taken in her breathtaking wedding gown, camo hat and rifle... would demand, "Take it Back!"

#4... My Mama was Southern. My Daddy is Southern. My Grandparents were Southern. My son is Southern. I am Southern. My kitchen is Southern. The food that comes out of my kitchen is Southern. Getting the picture?

My Grandmama Bradham, My Mama,
Me and My Son! Four generations of Southerners!

#5... I am NOT saying that a Southerner created the pizza. If you are a Northerner, and think New Yorkers created the pizza... NOPE. If you think that the Italians created the pizza, NOPE, wrong again. The Italians are the first recorded to have used the WORD "pizza". Foods similar to pizza have been prepared since the neolithic age also know as the Stone Age, beginning about 10,200 BC. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history. For more info on the history of the pizza... Click Here!

For more (calm and rational) posts on Southern Food and History choose any of the links below! :-)

My Mama... The original Southern Belle... no emails please!!!

What is Real Southern Food?

Family Reunion Picnic on the 4th of July

Whole Hog Southern BBQ

Collard Greens

Soul Food History

More Soul Food

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Onion Soup Mix... for Pot Roast

I wanted to make a pot roast using onion soup mix and my pickled garlic, but I didn't have any mix left in the pantry. So, I made some myself. After searching the web and consolidating the results, I came up with this one...

2 tablespoons minced, dried onion
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together and store in a zip-loc bag.
Makes the equivalent of one package of soup mix.

I followed my usual method for my pot roast... except for the garlic. I used my pickled garlic this time.

1 small roast (able to fit in a crock pot)
1 pack of onion soup mix
1/2 cup (or so) water
6 cloves pickled garlic, sliced thin

Add to the crock pot and cook on low for about 8 hours.

I went to put it up after everyone ate... this is all that was left.
I guess the pickled garlic was pretty good! LOL

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Las Vegas... through a foodie's eyes!

Since we arrived in Vegas early in the morning, our travel mates (Carl & Lynn... yes, another Lynn) had rented a car. We decided to travel out to Red Rock Canyon and do some site-seeing until we could check in to the hotel. On the way out, we decided to get a quick bite to eat. In Vegas, the highways are lined with a wall to create a noise barrier for the housing developments, which makes it hard to spot a restaurant from the road. We were getting close to the end of town, so we just ducked down the next exit. That's when we came across Beach Pizza. There was a menu on the window, and it looked good... so that was it. It was about 10:30 in the morning, but it was open. The lady running the place said that she opens early on Sundays for a little lady that comes in every Sunday morning. She orders her food and sits reading her paper... lucky for us! Carl & Lynn ordered Sausage and Pepper Subs.

The hubby got a Steak and Pepper Sub.

Guess what I found on the menu???

I was hungry so I ordered a large.
When she sat this in front of me, I almost fell out the chair!
Ummm! This is two sandwiches, not one large! LOL

I have no idea what I was doing...
but it was 107 degrees in the desert,
and the wind was blowing like a furnace!

Red Rock Canyon

We watched a Thunderstorm roll through the canyon.
That cooled it off, and it was nice... for a little while!

Then, it was off to the hotel! We checked in and took a little break... about 5 minutes and off to the races again! We decided to just get a quick bite in the casino before hitting the strip. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill was on the second floor of the hotel/casino. I was so excited! 

I don't have any pictures, because quite frankly, I was very disappointed. The waitresses were very tackily dressed. Yes, I know it's Vegas, but I really don't want to see boobs and butts while I'm eating! Guys, I'm not being prejudice! I don't want to see half dressed men while I'm eating either. Well, shirtless men wouldn't be as disturbing as girls in push-up bustiers and chaps with black shorts that looked more like thongs! Yikes! Well, I had a Catfish Po' Boy... It was supposed to have "fried, cornmeal dusted catfish topped with Toby's slaw & a tangy remoulade sauce served on a hoagie roll". Well, there was definitely bread. As for the rest of the ingredients, there was a very small, thin piece of fried catfish and maybe a tablespoon of slaw, and I saw some color on the bun. I was left to assume that that was the remoulade. Why didn't I send it back? Well, apparently the jacked up boobs prevented them from hearing me. I would say that it affected their sight also. No one got refills either. Ugh! I hope they were just having an off night, because I had heard good things about the place. On to the strip...

The hubby to took this one for our friend Michele! :-)

The next morning, we ate at the Harrah's Flavors Buffet for breakfast. Not bad food, but not photo worthy. Enough fuel to get us underway! LOL We traveled to the Hoover Dam. We walked the Mike O' Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Now, I'm not truly afraid of heights, but I'm not that fond of them either. I'm ok not looking down and staying away from edges, but  this bridge has a concrete wall on one side and railings on the other. Needless to say, I hugged the concrete wall, until I was MADE to stand by the railing to take a picture. We took the cruise tour around Lake Mead on the Desert Princess.


Well, that night I got to make the supper decision! My friend Ally, had suggested that I try Firefly. I almost didn't take pictures there also... not because it was bad, but because it was AWESOME! I almost forgot to take pictures! Firefly is a tapas restaurant. It's a wonderful way to sample a lot of different foods without having to take an extra trip to the bank! (It was cheaper than that breakfast buffet!) Excellent food... when we drove up to the restaurant, Carl and the hubby weren't too thrilled. They're thinking... I don't like Mexican! I told them that this is not rice and beans like we are used to at home, and it's Spanish, not Mexican! Same difference, they say... NOT!

This was the point where I realized that
I hadn't taken any pictures. LOL
Complimentary plate of crispy bread,
Almond-Honey Butter and Olives. YUM!

 Firefly Fries... Parmesan, Herbs and Aioli

Babyback Ribs with a Mango BBQ Sauce
(Not Pictured... Steak and Mushroom Skewers)
I don't know why... 

Petite Filet with Herb Cheese, Roasted Potatoes,
Mushrooms and a Red Wine Sauce

Big Bowl - Pasta with Veggies and a Tomato-Pepper Sauce
and an add-on of Grilled Chicken

Then... Another night on the strip catching the
different shows at the hotels and casinos...
the water show at the Bellagio Fountains,
the Sirens show at Treasure Island,
and the Volcano at The Mirage.

A couple of breakfasts at Denny's under the belt... eh... so-so. The hubby loves his breakfast omelets and grits and eggs, so I go along and eat a Fried Chicken Caesar Salad for breakfast. You have to work hard to screw up a salad! I forgot the camera, but I don't think you'd care about pictures of Denny's food. The pics in the menu look better anyway!

We were on our own for a while and the hubby remembered the other place that my friend Ally had suggested. I was sure that the restaurant was in The Quad, but most of it was under renovation. Well, the hubby found out where it was and how to get around the construction. My next culinary treat was in the making... Hash House A Go-Go!!!

The hubby ordered...
Slow Cooked Bar B' Que Pork Ribs
St. Louis ribs braised with the house soy bar b' que sauce, carrots

... and a side of Bacon cheddar mashed potatoes!!!

Under the "Just For Grazing" section of the menu was Fried Green Tomatoes, so I figured that since I wasn't starving, I should just order something to nibble on... BOY HOWDY was I wrong! It was HUGE!!!

Fried Green Tomato Stack
with Homemade Chicken Salad, Goat Cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette

... served on a big ole chunk of watermelon!

I have never tasted anything like it in my life! The crust on the tomatoes was
awesome, and the Balsamic Vinaigrette totally sent the dish over the top!
If you ever get a chance, this place is a MUST TRY!
(and if you leave hungry, it's your own fault! LOL)

We traveled over to Fremont Street that night. Fremont Street is the original Vegas Strip established in 1905. They had three different stages with different music style bands playing. They took occasional breaks for the light show to take place on the archway ceiling! 

On the last night, we grabbed a burger at Ruth's Diner in the Airport and caught our flight out at 10:55pm. When we arrived in Charlotte that morning, Carl & Lynn had a craving for Cracker Barrel's Sweet Tea and breakfast. As the hubby says, there's always room for breakfast!

Arrivederci... Las Vegas!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pickled Garlic

It all starts with:

1 pound of garlic

 Separate the cloves...

 This yields about 3 1/2 cups of garlic cloves...

 Next, peel the cloves. Do not smash them.
If you'd like, you can blanch them for about 2 to 3 minutes,
and then transfer them to an ice bath.
The skins should peel right off.

 Peeled garlic cloves...

 Divide the garlic between 2 clean prepared pint jars
or 4 half pints... Depending on how often you use it.
I use bunches, so I used pints.

Boil 1 cup of Red Wine Vinegar,
1 cup of Water
and 1 tablespoon of Pickling Salt.
Carefully pour into the jars, and process in a boiling
water-bath for 10 minutes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My "Crap on a Cracker" Moment

Those of you that are familiar with Penny on The Big Bang Theory will understand this and not take offense. (If not Google it and you'll understand! LOL)

My "Crap on a Cracker" Moment today...

Like the commercial on TV, I came into the kitchen this morning to find a pot pie box on the island, which let me know that my son had fixed himself a little something to eat. (The hubby brought 2 of the pies home a month ago and put them in the freezer. Something he does from time to time... I don't know why.) Anyway!!! I'm sitting at my computer working on a post and think to myself... should I really be smelling that pot pie that strongly at noon, when he fixed it hours ago? I even looked in the trash to see if he had thrown the uneaten portion in the trash. Nothing there... Back at my computer, I thought to myself, "Dang that pot pie sure smells good! That can't be what I smell! Garlic... I smell yummy Garlic!" A little while later, after thinking that my garlic loving son added garlic to his pot pie, I was feeling mighty proud that he's becoming quite the little chef... THEN, it dawned on me that I had put a roast in the crock pot last night... at 8pm!!!

17 hours later!!! Thank goodness it was on LOW!

I think it's done! LOL

Not that you'd want to duplicate this recipe... but here's what I did. I put the roast in the crock pot, and as with all crock pot recipes, I turned the crock pot on and forgot about it! LOL

One good chunk of a sirloin roast
2 cups good beef broth
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried minced onion
Salt and Pepper

Put in the crock pot on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4-5 hours.